AN Ararat man has been committed to stand trial on charges of making a threat to kill, criminal damage, burglary, theft and threatening to destroy property.
Ormond Randell, 59, pleaded not guilty to all five charges.
Evidence was given in a committal hearing in Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday that an Ararat farm was vandalised last April, with graffiti on the property, including references to blowing up planned wind turbines and the word “kill”.
Equipment including toolboxes, a barbecue, LED lights and fencing equipment was also stolen.
Farm owner Gary Hamilton said he and his wife had left the property the day before after spending a few days there last Easter.
During questioning by Randell’s defence counsel, Tony Burns, about his insurance policies, Mr Hamilton became visibly upset, said he “wasn’t the criminal here” and left the court. He returned after a short break, apologising to magistrate Andrew Capell, who said he had “never seen that before”.
The court heard that Mr Hamilton offered a reward for information about the attack on his property through the Ararat Advertiser last year before telling police he thought it was Randell.
The court heard that the graffiti included the initials OLR, but Mr Burns questioned the police informant, Acting Sergeant Guy Menhennit, whether it was unusual for someone to identify themselves in this manner.
“If that person felt passionately about what they were doing, to the point of irrationality,” Acting Sergeant Menhennit said.
He said Randell was one of several objectors to a wind farm that was planned at the property.
Acting Sergeant Menhennit said he had been called to vandalism attacks on Randell’s property, and a microwave shot with a bullet had been thrown onto Randell’s farm.
Senior Constable Michelle Elvery, of Northern Grampians CIU, said she was the first officer on the scene and found a drop of blood on a chair and several fingerprints, one later identified as from a family member.
However, Mr Burns questioned the handling of the blood swab and a DNA reference sample at the Victoria Police Forensic Services Centre.
Randell will face a directions hearing at the County Court in Ballarat on August 29.